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Introducing Political PhilosophyA Policy-Driven Approach

Introducing Political Philosophy: A Policy-Driven Approach (1st edn)

Andrew Walton, William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, and Tom Parr
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date: 28 September 2023

p. 786. Schools and Equality of Opportunitylocked

p. 786. Schools and Equality of Opportunitylocked

  • William Abel,
  • Elizabeth Kahn,
  • Tom Parr
  •  and Andrew Walton


This chapter addresses the value of equality of opportunity and assesses its implication for the design of the school system, arguing for the radical conclusion that the state should prohibit elite private schools. It begins by outlining how elite private schools create inequalities in prospects between children, and develops an account of why this is morally problematic. A challenge to the chapter’s argument comes from those who reject equality of opportunity in favour of educational adequacy. The chapter then considers the possibility that it is wrong for the state to prohibit elite private schools because this interferes too much in family life. It offers a framework for assessing which choices should be protected on these grounds, and argues that the choice to send one’s child to an elite private school does not fall in this set.

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